Both the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 have Oreo beta software available in the wild at this point. We devoted a number of articles to covering what's new in Oreo and went into detail about the bugs and hiccups on both the S8 and the Note 8. Still, many people are left wondering — what's the difference between the Oreo builds on these two phones?
The Galaxy S8 is further along in the software testing process, as the official S8 Oreo beta program started several weeks ago. At this point, the beta for the Galaxy S8 is already on its fourth incremental update, whereas the Oreo build available for the Galaxy Note 8 is unofficial leaked software that just hit the internet. As a result, a majority of the differences in Oreo for the S8 and Note 8 come down to stability.
The Note 8 and S8 are in different phases of testing for the Oreo update. Pictured below, you can see the build number for each phone. Due to the beta status of each build, you can also see that both devices are "Uncertified" in the Play Store, as neither build passes SafetyNet. This means you won't be able to use Netflix, Android Pay, and some banking apps on either beta.
Once the stable Oreo update arrives from Samsung, we expect to see these issues resolved. It is worth noting that we have noticed a larger number of apps failing SafetyNet on the Note 8, perhaps attributable to the unofficial status of the beta.
The Note 8 and Galaxy S8 have nearly identical feature sets in Android Oreo. Upon installing the Note 8 beta, we noticed that the option to add new app icons to the home screen was available. This feature was previously missing from the Galaxy S8 Oreo build, but with the recent fourth update, this was rectified as well.
With the exception of the S-Pen features and Live Focus in the Note 8 camera, there aren't any discernible differences in the feature sets. Both phones enjoy new Always on Display styling, transparent notifications, and an awesome new screenshot labeling feature. The lack of a software-only Live Focus mode on the S8 is perhaps the biggest complaint users have about this update.
It should come as no surprise that the Galaxy S8 is much more stable running Oreo. With four iterations complete, Samsung has fixed several bugs and improved overall smoothness of UI navigation. On the other hand, the Note 8 has frequent issues with force-closing apps and general lag when working on the home screen. As the Note 8 beta progresses, we will surely see the two phones merge to a similar level of smoothness.
The story with battery life is very similar. Thus far, we've noticed a solid 4.5-5 hours screen on time from the Galaxy S8 Plus, almost identical to what we saw when running Nougat. Unfortunately, the Note 8 is averaging around 4 hours screen on time, down about 1.5 hours from the previous Nougat build. Battery life is always subjective, but you would expect the Note 8 and S8 Plus to achieve similar numbers when the stable build is available.
Overall, there aren't a ton of important feature differences between the Note 8 and S8 Oreo builds. The main takeaway here is that you're much safer running the S8 Oreo beta on your daily driver. If you are a Note 8 user and want to try the unofficial beta, you can check out our full guide on how to do so. Let us know in the comments if you're running either build, and be sure to tell us how it's coming along!
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